Make your whole pharmacy the destination for diabetes care

Male pharmacist interacting with female patient

Design your front end to complement diabetes care from behind the counter

In brief:

  • A person with diabetes (PWD) is extremely valuable to a pharmacy
  • A person with diabetes can easily spend $100 a month on products such as test strips¹ and can spend $10,000 over 3–4 years
  • Patients with diabetes want a large, dedicated diabetes section with a wide range of products
  • A diabetes section in your pharmacy is not only convenient for patients but also introduces patients to more relevant products, increasing sales

The $10,000 patient

Not being the preferred pharmacy for a patient with diabetes can be a big missed opportunity. Every time a patient with diabetes takes their business somewhere else, you lose about $10,000.

That’s the experience of Jerry Meece, Director of Clinical Services at Plaza Pharmacy and Wellness Center in Gainesville, Texas. Meece estimates that over three to four years, a patient with diabetes, plus family members, will spend about $10,000 in a pharmacy, including the cost of prescriptions, over-the-counter supplies like test strips, diabetic shoes, vaccinations and diabetes education.²

Shopping in your store shouldn’t be a treasure hunt, with patients and family members wandering all over to track down what they need. Make it easy and convenient for patients with diabetes to buy products they need that will improve their health.

What patients want

Industry trends, focus groups and other research show that patients with diabetes want:

  • The convenience of a large, dedicated diabetes section in the pharmacy.
  • A big selection of products and product categories. Not just glucose testing products and lancets but other items specifically for patients with diabetes, including:
    • Sugar-free cough and cold products
    • Accessories, such as cases with gel packs and sharps containers
    • Nutritionals, including glucose tablets and snacks specifically for them
    • Health and beauty products
  • Money savings, with special offers, coupons and rebates. Think about a club that offers free test strips or other benefits for patients with diabetes who fill all of their prescriptions at your pharmacy.
  • Opportunities to learn. Signs, brochures and interactive displays help shoppers and give them a reason to return. Because you know that patients with diabetes will be in a particular area of your store, you can feature timely promotions, such as smoking cessation.

A well-stocked diabetes center in your pharmacy allows you to easily introduce patients to products that they didn’t even know existed or hadn’t thought about buying. For example, you could offer a medical ID bracelet that shows first responders the type of diabetes a person has and if they are using an insulin pump or taking insulin.

While a focused diabetes center within the pharmacy is important, you also can help shoppers throughout your store with signs or logos that identify diabetes-friendly products, such as sugar- and alcohol-free cough and cold remedies, wound care, and specialized skincare products.

Their savings is your sale

How a patient pays for diabetes care supplies matters. Understanding this is another way a knowledgeable independent pharmacy staff can shine in the front end.

  • Stay up to date on what health plans cover, so you can show patients the best values, whether they have Medicare, Medicaid or other insurance. Staff and signs can explain that Medicare Part B may cover shoes or inserts, or that patients can use a health savings account or flexible spending account for some products.
  • Feature store-brand products, such as glucose, skincare and fiber, giving patients a more affordable way to stay healthy.

Make it easy for them to spend wisely and do it at your pharmacy.

Offer front-end support

Smart business owners cater to their best, most profitable customers. Patients with diabetes are an important customer group that spends more than twice as much in pharmacies as other patients. Meanwhile, more than a million Americans are newly diagnosed with diabetes every year and more than 84 million American adults have prediabetes.³

Diabetes care is not only a significant market today for your pharmacy but is also a growing one. Be sure that your front end provides the products that customers need and allows your pharmacy to take full advantage of the opportunity to serve patients with diabetes and their families.

¹ “How Much Do Diabetes Supplies Cost?” WebMD, Feb. 17, 2019.
² “Being the ‘Go-To’ Pharmacy for Diabetes Care,” Jerry Meece, Drug Store News, Jan. 25, 2019.
³ “National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.